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Category Archives: Just to be Random

I expect you to die, Mr Bond.

So what makes a good villain and why do we even need a villain anyway?

In the world of genre fiction, villains are what make the stories happen. A hero is defined by the villain in many ways and without a good villain, it’s hard to have a good hero. After all, the obstacles the hero overcomes is what makes him a hero in the first place so if his obstacles are easy to overcome, how does that make the hero heroic?

There are a few main points to remember when formulating a villain, it should be a person. Faceless groups, bureaucracies, nameless evil and such all make crappy villains. Why? Because there’s nothing there to fight, it’s fog, you can’t punch it, you can’t have witty banter with it and you can’t kill it with a sword, gun, laser rifle or chat it to death. The hero needs someone tangible to fight against and it’s best if its one person. They can, and often do to excellent effect, represent the faceless group, bureaucracy or nameless evil. They are the face of that bad entity, the tangible person who is making the hero’s life hell and needs to be beaten, killed, incapacitated, dethroned, whatever.

Look at the great movies out there, Star Wars had Darth Vader with the Emperor behind him. Darth was the face of the Empire, which was bad and the Dark Side, which was worse. Can you imagine what that movie would have been like if Darth Vader hadn’t been the evil figurehead? Try the Phantom Menace. Who was the protagonist in the Phantom Menace? Who was the bad guy? Remember how utterly boring and pointless that movie felt? Part of the problem was the total lack of personal conflict.

Lord of the Rings had Souron and while he was the master pulling the puppet strings, but he sent out tangible bad guys for the heroes to overcome, the One Ring itself was a nameless evil, but it wasn’t the main driver, it just complicated things. The Ring Wraiths, the Orcs, Saruman the White, these were the villains that got us through the first movie.

Look at The Day After Tomorrow and the Happening. Why were these silly movies? Because the villains were weather and vegetation! Compare The Day After Tomorrow to Wall-E. The theme is the same, but the movies are vastly different. One is mocked and ridiculed, the other loved and lauded.

Another thing to keep in mind when making a good villain is that a good villain doesn’t think he’s evil. A good villain is the hero of his own story. Yes, he seems bad to us, but he thinks he’s doing something that’s either good or morally justifiable in some way. This is harder, but a good one is to have the world view that only the strong survive and that being strong and requiring humanity to be strong is good for humanity. The ends justify the means type of thing. The best villain I have ever seen is Gerald Terrant from C.S. Fiedman’s Coldfire trilogy. You start that series thinking he’s the worst thing ever and the more you learn about him, the worse you think he is and yet the more you like him. He’s the most twisted and despicably selfish character I have ever seen who is also the most sympathetic and selfless at the same time. I ended that series with him as my favorite character and he’s still on my top 10 characters of all time. I highly recommend checking it out.

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Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Just to be Random

 

Chinatown: Most overated movie of all time.

film-noir-chinatown-1974-movie-poster-via-professormortis-wordpress

This movie sucks.  I know, heresy, but let me explain.  My husband and I watched this movie because it’s the ‘definitive’ film Noir, and I kind of like film noir on occasion.  The movie Brick was so good that we decided to see the movie that launched a genre. And we would really like our 130 minutes back. The whole movie was great, right up to the last ten minutes, when nothing that happened in the proceeding two hours mattered! We watched the plot twist and turn, clues revealed that only made the whole skein yet more tangled and it was great. Then the whole sordid mess was uncovered, the knot untangled, the pattern made plain. Hurrah! Our hero has unearthed everything and now the bad guys will be caught, our hero made a difference. The pain and effort was worth it! But alas no. It was a total and complete waste of his time in every way. Nothing changed except that more people were now dead than when he started. It could be argued that his involvement made the whole thing worse.

And I now need to take a shower, because I feel dirty. The whole movie is just one big waste of time. And I feel this way about so many ‘great’ movies. I don’t need them to have a happy ending, I’m okay with bittersweet, like Gladiator and Sucker Punch. I’m okay with main characters dying as long as they accomplish something with that death. I’m not okay with main characters getting the ever loving snot beaten out of them, their life put on the line and it not meaning a thing in the end. Maybe I just hate tragedy, and that is true, I’m not a fan of it. Romeo and Juliet strikes me as just one long exercise in failed communication and futility. But even in that story, their deaths ended the feud, so they did accomplish something. That didn’t happen in Chinatown. It was just sheer futility and pain, struggle for nothing, not even character growth. I don’t find that to be a story worth spending time with because it’s not a story, it’s just something that happened, but didn’t mean anything.

Yeah, that ending might be true to real life more often than not, but I don’t watch movies to relive all the times real life has kicked me in the face. I watch most movies to see somebody beat those odds. One of the many questions writers ask themselves when constructing a narrative is ‘why this character and why now?’ The point of that question is to make sure that we are telling an interesting story, that the story we are telling is a pivotal point in that character or the worlds history. That’s why when we look at history, we see the points of change like WWII, The eruption of Pompeii, Fall of Rome, etc. We don’t tell the story of a boy 10 years before the fall of Rome because nothing is happening there! Unless the story is about the boy himself, then you can do it, but if it’s about Rome, no one cares. The why is as important as the when. Why are we telling this story? Does someone in it triumph over their adversaries to meet a goal? Because if they don’t why are you writing it? What’s the point in the telling?

tumblr_md1ul6cNys1qzsuffo1_1280You can probably tell that I am not a fan of literature. I can respect some fiction because thrillers, suspense and mysteries mostly end with the hero solving the problem or living or whatever. I prefer to travel off planet for my fun, but that’s personal taste and not a problem of the story being broken. And Chinatown isn’t the only movie I’ve seen with this problem. Most of the movies coming out with Oscars tend to have this problem. The movie is great right up until they slit their own bellies at the end. I always walk away from those wondering what the writers or directer or producer were thinking. I wonder if they just couldn’t figure out what to do with the ending or if they all have prosaic sponsorships I don’t know about.

To be fair, Chinatown might be a classic because it’s the first Film Noir or maybe it’s an example of some filming technique I don’t know about. I’ve not been to film school, so I don’t know. But I am of the opinion that it isn’t fit for general consumption. I found very little to recommend it. If you did, more power to you, in at least that much, it’s still a free country.

 

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Star Trek: Into Darkness

In the interest of full disclosure, let me preface this review/discussion with some back ground. I love Star Trek. I’ve been a fan for almost my entire life. I was raised on re-runs of TOS and was there to see TNG hit the airwaves live at the ripe age of 8, and have been watching reruns of that for many years as well. I was into DS9, up until the dominion war got hot and heavy and I was left bored with that whole story line in all honesty. Voyager had promise, but I felt they squandered it for the sake of pure soap opera in space plot lines. And Enterprise will not be mentioned here. I love Bakula, and none of it was his fault, but that was a total travesty of a show that should never have been associated with Trek. I still consider myself a Trekkie and as Weird all so poignantly put it, “Only question I ever thought was hard Was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?” I consider myself a Trekkie and eschew the term Trekker with extreme prejudice. If you like it, I won’t hold it against you, as that would be highly illogical and counter productive.

So when the reboot came out, I was on geeky pins and needles, tripping between possible elation and bitter despair. I needn’t have worried, because the first reboot was great gobs of snarky fun. Did it have problems? Are you kidding? It’s a Trek movie, of course it has problems, but that’s half the fun with Trek. It also had that fun, exploring a new world concept, even if the world was just the divergence from one we already knew.

Coming into the second re-boot, I avoided pretty much all of the online discussions and articles and just stuck to watching the trailers. As Sherlock fan, I squeed at Cumberbatch being in the movie. So I went into the movie not knowing exactly what to expect but being mildly apprehensive. I also had the distinct advantage of going to a double feature with friends, so I got to watch the first and second re-boot back to back.

*Warning! If you have not seen it, SPOILERS ahead!*

Into Darkness

I will not go into a plot run down because I find them a tedious waste of time. If you saw it, I need not explain how the whole thing goes down, you already know. Over all, I liked it a lot. It was fast and funny and that forgives a great number of flaws in movies, books and TV. It kept me entertained for the most part, though there were some cringe worthy points that I will get to later. The lens flairs were kept to a minimum this go around, and while it might not seem like it, just watch the first one again and gape anew at the total opacity of whole scenes due to lens flare. One of the things I really, REALLY hate about the re-boots in the engine room. I don’t know why there are huge water tubes, vats of nuclear waste and wide open spaces in a fairly small vessel that would have been built with spacial economy in mind. That bugs the ever loving crap out of me every time I see it. Sorry, just had to get that out of my system.

So let’s dig into the meat of this movie shall we? The real conversation? Khan Noonien Singh. The biggest bad ass and bad guy of TOS. Or was he? I am in a unique situation to view this movie, as I am currently going through the Original Series on Netflix along with the and we have recently seen ‘Space Seed’. This is the first appearance of Khan and while he was pretty cool, he wasn’t the man we think of him as being today. In this episode, he was just a man, a very intelligent, manipulative, genetically engineered man who almost took over the Enterprise, but not the man we meet later in the Wrath of Khan. If anything, he was pretty mild mannered and seemed pleased to be given a whole world to tame at the end of said episode.

Original Khan


But we don’t remember this man, we remember this man.

Old Khan

But this is an unfair comparison. This is not the man the re-boot cast is facing. And while I admit a certain amount of discomfort at Khan being in the second movie of the re-boot series, it wasn’t a problem for me until they started to try to mirror the Wrath of Khan in the latter half of the movie. Up until that point, Cumberbatch played Khan beautifully. He was cunning, manipulative, brilliant and self assured. This is the Khan of Space Seed, the Khan that makes sense to see at this point in the time line.



And let’s talk about the whole ‘race’ thing for just a second, because I know this caused quite the tempest among some fans. There were rumors of casting a Latino actor to play Khan and that confuses me to no end. Khan is not Hispanic. He *might* be from northern India, but that was just a guess on Uhura’s part in ‘Space Seed’, and while I’m guessing she’s right, still, a Latino guy int he role makes no sense. I could see it being an English guy though. India was colonized by the British and still has British people living there, so the idea of Khan being British is fine by me. I would have preferred an Indian guy myself, they do exist, like the guy from Heroes, but I can stretch it for Cumberbatch. He did an amazing job of playing Khan. He was scary in a very subtle way, making you want him to be good and decent when you know darn well he isn’t. He slices and dices Klingons like a boss and that voice gives him a presence of leashed fury that Montalban had in the movie, but not in the series.

What I think happened here is that we’ve all retconned Khan into being the same man in ‘Space Seed’ that he later became in Wrath, but he wasn’t. And I think this movie made the same mistake. They never should have tried to recreate the Wrath of Khan this early in the new timeline, some 15 years earlier or more, than in the original timeline. That’s when I started to cringe, and Spock yelling Khan’s name made me squirm. I can only compare it to the hideous howl of Vader in the third Star Wars movie, the one everyone makes fun of so frequently and with perfect justification. This is the same thing for me and for that one scene, I am ashamed of my fandom.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Just to be Random

 

The softer side of Dragoncon.

2013 badgeI’ve been to a number of conventions, anime conventions, small SciFi cons, a gaming con or two and last year I went to Montreal Comicon. This was my first Dragon*Con and it really was unlike any other I’ve ever been to. It had its similarities, as all fan conventions do, but it was also quite different. Everyone knows it’s huge, filling five downtown Atlanta hotels to the brim, pretty much every other hotel in walking range and there are attendees scattered all over the city, from those who live in the area or stay with friends, to those who choose to stay in hotels farther away but accessible via the MARTA system. In 2012 52k people came to the con and this year, I was told by a staffer that they expected 60-65k. It sure felt like they hit that number on Saturday.

In terms of sheer size, it’s one of the biggest fan conventions in the world. I won’t lie, I’m not fond of large crowds. I don’t like going to concerts unless they are classical in nature, I don’t go to crowded bars, I avoid large parties, hate sporting events and try to stay home on Black Friday. And yet I went to Dragon*Con and loved it. I’m hoping to go back again next year, and someday want to be there as an author on a panel. (squee!) So how can someone so against crowds love this event? Well, I avoid the big stuff for the most part, and stick to the smaller panels. Not because I’m trying to avoid crowds, but because this con is so big that it has a ton of panels and many of them are pretty specific and niche. I spent most of my time in these smaller panels because these were the things that interested me the most, and it was like being at a small convention until you went outside to swim upstream like a spawning salmon to your next panel. We went to a few big ones, cast panels for the Walking Dead and BSG, which were in big ballrooms and had hour long lines. And there are plenty of those to be had. What you hear about Dragon*Con is how big it is, how crazy the costumes are, that there’s a big parade and huge parties every night. This is all true, but there’s a softer, quieter side to the con that few talk about. Not because it’s bad, but because it IS quiet and no one thinks that’s exciting. Unless, like a lot of us geeky people, you’re an introvert. You could easily spend the con going from one giant crowd of fans to another, hit the big dances and parties and have a blast if that’s your thing.

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If it’s not, you can have just as much fun on the softer side and never run out of things to do. This is the first convention I’ve been to that had me booked almost all day in one panel after another. We would get up at 7:30, get breakfast at the food court and be in the first set of panels for the day at 10am and not stop until the last panel at 10pm. I went to panels like ‘Magic and Mayhem: Witches in Urban Fantasy’, ‘Space Opera Then, Military SciFi Now’, ‘Down and Dirty Marketing for Authors’ and ‘Dragon Sex!’. Yes, Dragon Sex!. Let me explain that or this is going to turn into a very different blog. Dragon Sex! is a panel about the dragons of Pern from Anne McCaffrey’s best selling series. Apparently this panel started many years ago to answer questions for authors of fan fiction who submitted their work to fanzines. Yeah, remember those? While fanzines didn’t last, this panel did. You can ask anything you want about dragons mating and how their riders are affected and I mean anything. There was a discussion on green riders and who they had sex with, if you know what I mean. It’s held on Saturday night at 10pm and was the single funniest and most entertaining panel we saw.

And that’s one of the things that makes Dragon*Con so different from the other cons I’ve been to. It’s run by fans and doesn’t have corporate sponsors, unlike all the other big ones. Nothing against the sponsored cons, those are great too, but that does change the atmosphere a bit. The fans who run this shindig get to pick what panels to present, who’s on them and what to talk about. There are no outside sponsors to think about, no need to get approval or worry about offending the sponsors, or the sponsors customers. And Dragon*Con doesn’t court guests, guests court Dragon*Con. If you are famous in the genre as an author, actor, artist etc, you apply to be a guest. Dragon*Con wants guests who want to be there, not people who have to be there. (Apparently, George R.R. Martin will never attend because he hates it.) And the guests who come are also fans. I’ve never seen so many ‘guests’ at a con in all my life, from those who are known by a few fans to the very recognizable, they are all there. Again, without corporate sponsorship, Dragon*Con can have everyone and anyone who wants to be there, and a lot of people want to be there.

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If you have ever thought of going, but are put off by the con’s size, give it another look. Yes, Saturday is a crush, but only in the halls, and 90% of the people there are awesome. My husband and I sat next to a random con goer for lunch in the food court, ended up chatting with him the whole meal, as with any other con you’ve ever been to. It’s a giant club and everyone there is into what you are on some level. But be warned, getting a hotel can be hard..

 

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Gluten Free Hazelnut Meringue Ganache cookies

I’ve been playing with this meringue for the last month now and I just keep making it. I originally found it as part of a cake recipe that I made and was struck by how good the meringue was all by itself. Frankly, the cake was a bit of a pain in the butt to make and I did it twice. The cookies are much easier and can be eaten alone, or with a decadent ganache filling! Bonus, this is a low sugar recipe and each cookie sandwich is only 200 cals. Win, win and win!

The only drawback to these is that they are time consuming, so plan accordingly. Better to make them the day before you want them and on a day when you won’t need your oven. The meringue will sit in there for 3 hours, but they will not need any attention other than turning the oven off once. Still worth it!

Ingredients:

Meringue:
1 Cup Hazelnuts, roasted (I bought them raw and roasted them myself the day I made this.)
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
1/3 Cup Truvia baking blend (or 1 Cup regular sugar)
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt if using unsalted nuts

Ganache:
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate chopped
1/3 Cup Truvia baking blend (or 2/3 to 1 Cup regular sugar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz Frangelico (I used one little sample bottle, like you get in hotel mini bars)

Parchment paper, jar cover, marker and a 2 greased cookie sheets


Undress your nuts (take the dark brown papery cover off of them) and put them in a food processor. Process until it looks like corn meal.


Add to it 1/2 of the sugar, the coconut flour and salt. Pulse once or twice just to get it all mixed up.


On the parchment paper, draw circles with the market and a jar top. My jar top was just over 2.5 inches across and I got 24 meringue wafers, which is what I based my calorie count on. You can make them as big or as little as you want really, but the larger ones are more fragile. Basically, you want a generous inch of uncooked meringue thickness or the cookies will just fall apart on you. Put this sheet INK DOWN on the greased cookie sheet. You want there to be enough butter on the sheet to hold the parchment paper down. I had to use two cookie sheets.


Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Now whip the snot out the egg whites! Okay, maybe just whip them to soft peaks, then add the other half of the sugar and THEN whip the snot out of them! Once they get firm peaks, fold in the nut mixture, until fully incorporated.


Preheat the oven to 250. Spread the meringue on the cookie sheet in the little circles. Try to keep the thickness about even through the whole cookie and between the cookies. These do not spread out like regular cookies, so if you want even cookies at the end, they need to be even in the beginning. Put these in the oven, preferably on the same rack, and bake for 90 minutes. At the end of 90min, turn the oven off and leave them in there for another 90min. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN FOR THIS 3 HOURS! Apparently, the world will end if you do, so just don’t. It is written.


After three hours, take them out and let them cool for 20-30 min before you mess with them. Now to the ganache!


Chop up the chocolate and put in a mixing bowl. In a small sauce pan, combine heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla. Slowly heat to a boil, stirring to keep from scalding the cream. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate, stir with a spatula and let sit for 10 min. Using the paddle, mix the chocolate until smooth, then either let it sit until it cools, or put it, paddle and all, in the fridge for 10-15min to cool. Pull it out and mix on medium or so until it starts to thicken. Lower the speed and slowly add the 2oz/small bottle of Frangelico. Otherwise, you will wear the Frangelico. (Yes, I’ve done that before, but it was years ago. Mostly.)


While the ganache is chilling or mixing (it has a better social life than I do), pour your meringue a drink! Peel the cookies off the parchment paper and brush the bottoms with more Frangelico or chocolate liquor. I used creme de cacao because I only had the little bottle of Frangelico and it went in the ganache. YUM! This adds moisture and flavor. While awesome, the meringue cookies can be a little dry, so this helps.

Don’t let the ganache get too thick or you’ll break the cookies trying to spead it. If it is too thick, just put the bottom of the bowl in warm water to melt it back down again. I try for the consistency of greek yogurt. It will thicken as it sits, but should smooth out if you just mix it for a few seconds again. Put a dollop on a cookie, spead, and add another cookie. You should have too much ganache unless you go nuts with it, so don’t be stingy, but the chocolate is powerful. Try a blob of this stuff in a cup of coffee when you’re done cooking. Mocha delight!


Voila! Cookies sandwiches! I put these in the fridge overnight to get them set, then took them out the next day to warm.

 

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On Having Lists

As writer and a dyslexic one at that, I am all about organizing, categorizing and filing. I have piles and lists and scraps of paper with important tidbits written on them. I have notebooks, and binders, folders and loose leaf paper by the sheaves. It’s something we do naturally as humans, we find ways of categorizing things, putting them in groups for easier assimilation by the computers in our heads. And it’s a tricky thing, because the slot we put things into isn’t always the ideal one, but we do our best, and as long as we remember that this is a tool and not a hard and fast rule, we’ll do okay by it.

My husband and I watched Avengers again this weekend, second time for him and third time for me and I was struck anew by the excellence of the movie. I commented that this movie is now on my top ten list of all time favorites and he agreed. It was a throw away line in a way because while I was sincere, the meaning of what I had said didn’t really sink in until I was laying in bed this morning, luxuriating in warm husband and warm blankets.

How would I really make a list of my favorite 10 movies of all time? What criteria would I use? Over all excellence of story telling? Most compelling characters? Most immersive? Could I count whole trilogies as a single entry? Star Wars and Lord of the Rings would make my list, as would all the Indiana Jones movies and right there I’ve used up nine slots and there are other movies I would just have to add. The Dark Crystal, The Dark Knight, and The Last Unicorn come to mind, so how to choose? Heck, I would toss Gladiator on there too if I had room simply because I love so much about that movie that I re-watch it regularly. And the beleaguered Sucker Punch as well. Honestly I like everything Zack Snyder has done. When it comes to mood and sheer artistry, that man is amazing.

See the problem I’m running into now? Too much good stuff to choose from. So maybe I’d have to break it up by genre and pick my top 10 that way. But what about those movies that straddle the line? Like Starship Troopers, which yes, I love because it’s awesome. I could put that in Sci-Fi or satire. I guess, since my satire list would be light and Sci-Fi brimming with entries I could put it there, but is that fair? Aren’t I playing games with the lists now? And they can’t really be definitive because tastes change, new movies come along that shuffles the whole list around and just time of year can effect how I’d rate them.  Star Trek IV is still my favorite Star Trek movie and sometimes I forget about it because it’s so old.

So in the end, I guess I don’t have a top ten, I just have a list in my head of movies that I love. I’ll call that enough, because for me it really is. Putting them in order is less important than being able to articulate WHY they are on the list in the first place. And yes, Inglorious Bastards is on my list too. My husband likes Kill Bill more, but I think Inglorious Bastards and Django are better. I mean come on, any movie that can make a scene of people drinking milk so tense you can’t breath has got to rank. And they killed Hitler! (fan girl moment)

I can tell you that I am old enough now to follow directors and writers and here’s my list. Nolan, Tarantino, Whedon, Snyder. I’ll see anything these guys touch, even tangentially. Somehow this post went off the rails there. Sorry, but it is Sunday after all. Stay tuned for meringue cookies later in the week. And my flash fiction, which will have the word Hitler in it. There, all tied together, even if the knot is super messy.

And Chinatown is a terrible movie.  Just terrible.

 

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Cashew Noodle Salad

If you have never tried this dish, then you are not living life to its fullest. My mother and I discovered this dish years ago at a health food store in Memphis TN. It was part of a fondly remembered Saturday morning trip we took every few weeks. We’d get up early and go to a bakery that made chocolate cherry bread, a bread so popular they’d sell out in an hour or two of opening and only made for the weekend. And it was an old style peasant bread, heavy, dark cocoa colored and thick, with warm chunks of bitter sweet chocolate and dried cherries. served warm with butter, it was sheer ambrosia for the chocolate dependent. Yes, duplicating that recipe is on my list, never fear.

After that we’d hit the health food store, pick up some sushi if they had some fresh made and a quarter pound of cashew noodle salad. Served cold, it was rich and creamy with bits of chopped cashews, buckwheat somen noodles and hot pepper. It’s best when it’s just hot enough to make you tear up. I can’t eat it that hot anymore, because my lips now puff up like I’ve been stung by a bee, but if you like hot food, try it hot. If not, it’s still wonderful without the heat.

3.5 teaspoons peanut oil
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons tamari soy sauce (If you are sensitive to salt, then use light soy sauce, it works fine)
3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cashew butter
1/2 buckwheat somen cooked, rinsed in cold water
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3.5 Tablespoons unsalted cashews chopped
1/4 cup green onions or chives.
fresh ground pepper to taste
*I have made some modifications to this recipe for various reasons which I’ll explain with the pictures. I would also like to note that this recipe does not list salt. That’s because there is plenty in the soy sauce, and you can always add salt, but you can never take it away if you add too much.

Cashew Noodle Salad 01 photo Cashewsalad01_zps56d44b31.jpg

In a small saucepan combine oils, soy sauce and cashew butter.

Warm on low heat and stir until it all melts together. It might look like gritty, but that’s fine, that happens with mine because my cashew butter isn’t as finely smoothed as peanut butter is.

Set the pan aside and chop the nuts, or you can do what I do and just smash them up in a ziplock bag with the butt of a knife.

Add the somen noodles, chopped nuts, pepper flakes (I only use 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of the pepper) and onions to the cashew paste in the pan. Mix until well combined and the noodles are well coated.

If you want a lower calorie option or if you are going for gluten free, grain free or any other variant on that theme, then try kelp noodles. I found them at my local health food store and while they are a bit stiff and odd fresh out of the package, a night in the cashew mixture fixed that right up and they were delightfully tasty. Using them reduced the calories per 1/4 batch from 440 to 255, so that was quite a win. While I do love buckwheat somen, this recipe doesn’t suffer from the loss because you don’t really taste the somen, you taste the cashews.

Put the whole thing in the fridge and let it sit over night. You can try some fresh, but it’s a let down and really needs that time to let the flavors meld and it’s better cold by far.

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Food, Just to be Random, On a Personal Note

 

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